Compiled by RYAN ONG. “For queer people who have endured traumas and rejections from families, Raya sometimes amplifies these feelings.”
By ANTHONY CHONG. “While I found someone to guide me to be an independent deaf person, I could not find anyone who could guide me to be an independent gay person.”
By FARIS SAAD. “Even if I lost everything else, I would still have my core group of friends who accept me as my handsome self. Without them, and without music, I wouldn’t have had the courage to transition.”
By JULYA OUI. “From having a queer family I had to come back to my immediate family. From having friends all over the city I came back to none. From living with my soul mate I came back to being alone.”
By JEROME KUGAN. “I couldn’t sing or write about the virus that was inside me, but somehow I could draw it out. And that was what I did.”
By FARIS SAAD. “I substituted my longing to be a boy with plotting to start a band. I soothed my dysphoria with music.”
By FARIS SAAD. “At the same time that I knew I was destined to be a musician I also started telling people to call me a boy.”
By PLUHO. In Malaysia, many LGBTQ+ persons face discrimination and hatred. Having had lived through hardships, what do we wish we knew when we were growing up?
Oleh DINA SALVATORE PATTINSON. “Dulu para peserta dinilai berdasarkan kecantikan, penampilan, pakaian, dan keyakinan diri. Di pentas Ikon TW pula setiap peserta dinilai lebih dari itu.”
By F.C. Kumar. For gay men like me, maintaining celibacy is a long drawn and eternal struggle. While some religions like mine allow for sexual relations within marriages, LGBTIQ+ people who choose to be true to our sexuality and identity won’t enjoy this same leeway in this country.
By PLUHO. If dating is hard, then dating as an LGBTQ+ person in Malaysia is impossible! We have to put up with so much more nonsense than our straight compatriots. …
“Mel, I think I’m gay.” I stared at you for a long time. You looked away from me. It was our year of trying everything once. I thought you were just trying it out. But you were sure that you were not sure. As unsure as you were scared.
“One good thing about living in Sarawak is that the general attitude is quite open-minded and tolerant, if not accepting. I see it in the way we treat different people from different race, gender, and age. I hope the whole country can head in the direction of Sarawak.”